By Dennis Amiss
Sachin Tendulkar will certainly go down as one of the all-time greats. It is remarkable to have achieved what he has as a batsman. It is a marvel to be able to keep going for such a long period, play so many Test matches and One-Day Internationals and to keep being successful as he did. He has a wonderful technique, a little genius of a player. I suppose we can say he is in the Don Bradman mould.
I have watched his technique over the years. In the early days he was marvellous at coming forward. He didn’t get pushed back by the faster bowlers in Test match cricket. Down the years, he probably he did not come at the ball quite so much, especially early on in the innings. He stayed back in his crease a bit more, and waited and watched. But, he is a superb technician, a great leaver of the ball, and he has got all the shots as well. He is a phenomenon really in how he has kept the runs flowing for so many years and so many matches.
I am sure he wants to give something back to the game and that will really be good for cricket. Everybody who has reached those heights wants to do that, and I am sure he will. It will be great for the game and especially the younger players in India.
I haven’t been fortunate enough to know him closely, but he seems a very genuine guy. He is a very popular person and carries his stardom really well.
I have had more interaction with Brian Lara, especially when he played for Warwickshire. Even recently I had been to Tobago on holiday and went over for a day to Trinidad. I played golf with Brian and had dinner at his house. Brian is a West Indian, and West Indians in general have a different approach to batting. Brian played with lot of Caribbean flair. The batting approach of Indians is different. Sachin had a different style and his own brand of flair.
But, both Sachin and Brian are great players. Both carry their stardom exceptionally well. Brian is king in Trinidad, as well as in West Indian cricket. I am sure Sachin is the same — king in India. It is marvellous to have great players like them. It is good for the game, and good for all the people who have come to admire them.
It is not always easy to be a great cricketer, especially in a country like India. Sachin is a huge hero in India and in demand all the time. When that happens, your life ceases to be your own. People always want to be with you. That’s the price you pay for fame. But, Sachin seems to have been able to carry on with his life, as close to normal as can be. He has obviously managed to deal with his celebrity status really well.
One can only marvel at the genius of both Sachin and Brian. Such players come few and far between. When they do come along, we should recognise the fact and applaud them — as we have been rightly applauding Sachin for close to 25 years now.
– As told to Arunabha Sengupta
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(Dennis Amiss is a former England opener who played in 50 Tests and average 46 plus and 18 ODIs at almost 48. Amiss also scored 102 centuries in First-Class cricket)